New mental illnesses-2: Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

New mental illnesses-2: Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Women of reproductive age might have physical, cognitive and emotional discomforts related to their menstruation periods that may significantly hamper their day-to-day functioning of life. Such problems related to menstrual cycles can give rise to premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) in which a woman can suffer from depression and mood disturbances. PMDD is, in fact, a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) when a woman has serious physical and emotional changes before the start of her periods.

According to the National Association for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (NAPMDD), about 5 million women in the United States are living with the disorder. Moreover, around 15 percent of women with this debilitating disorder may commit suicide in their lifetime. Researchers believe that women who have a genetic link with another patient are more prone to getting the disorder.

Under the series ‘New mental illnesses’, hypersexual disorder has already been covered in the previous article. In this article, the focus will be on PMDD, which has affected millions of women across the world.

Symptoms of PMDD

According to the NAPMDD, PMDD may have various physical, mental, psychological and emotional symptoms, the most common of which include the following:

  • Mood swings
  • Mild or severe depression, anxiety
  • Increased anger
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia and other sleep problems
  • Physical issues, such as bloating, tenderness of breasts, headaches, joint or muscle pain etc.

Diagnosis for PMDD

The preliminary part of the diagnosis process involves identifying the symptoms and determining the severity of the disorder. A doctor may review the symptoms and a woman’s medical history to weigh the possibility of the disorder and its potential causes of occurrence. Since this disorder is prevalent among women of reproductive age, female gonadal hormones might play a causal role. Variation of serotoninergic activity in the brain might be responsible for causing the disorder.

Underlying medical or gynecological conditions, including endometriosis, fibroids, menopause and hormonal problems, are also ruled out before the diagnosis of PMDD. The disorder is confirmed when at least five of the mentioned symptoms appear before seven days of menstruation which goes away within two days of the period. If symptoms stay even after the menstruation period, the underlying disorder may be due to other reasons.

PMDD can be cured

Treatment options for PMS are also applicable to PMDD. There are four major parts of the treatment process:

  • Enough nutrition: Reducing the intake of salt, caffeine, refined sugar and alcohol can be helpful. The ingredients that may help relieve the symptoms include calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin E and magnesium. The effectiveness of foods, however, have not been fully established yet.
  • Exercise: Aerobic exercises such as swimming may improve menstrual health. Workout is also required because it provides enough indirect benefits.
  • Medication: Antidepressants may reduce the symptoms of the disorder. There are three drugs – Sarafem, Paxil CR and Zoloft that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Besides, OTC pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) may be used for headache, breast tenderness and cramping. Diuretics, also known as water pills, is used to maximize fluid retention and help in bloating. If anxiety is present, anti-anxiety medicines can be used to ease the symptoms.
  • Counseling: Women who have psychological symptoms may benefit from counseling. Therapies used to treat anxiety and depression can also be used for PMDD. Experts believe that yoga, meditation and reflexology are helpful for PMDD but no concrete proof has been found to support these beliefs.

Seek treatment for PMDD as quickly as possible

It has been commonly found that the symptoms of PMDD also resemble a part with those of depression and anxiety. Therefore, non-treatment can lead to various mental health issues. It is also advisable to get medical help with the onset of the disorder.

If you or a loved one is looking for help on mental health issues, the Florida Mental Health Helpline can help you find the best mental health counselor in Florida. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 846-5588 or chat online with our representatives for more information about the best mental disorder treatment in Florida.

Read the other articles of the series “New mental illnesses:”

  1. Hypersex disorder
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